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Laugh Tracks: Finales, renewals, and cancellations, pt. 3

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Date Posted: May 23, 2011

By Amy Van Veen (The Cascade) – Email

Will Arnett on The Office

Even though Creed is ready to go in his Porsche with a personalized license plate that says “NEW MGR” and his team building exercises are awe-inspiring, “Stanley, Phyllis, Ted, Elroy,” The Office search committee have a big day ahead of them filled with interviews and bribes. The first interviewee is Will Arnett who has a three step plan that could effectively double profits, but he holds it ransom. He’ll only share his plan if he gets the job, but they think he may not even have a plan, so he gives them part three of part two, verbal trademark. Next! A random old man (played by super billionaire Warren Buffet) with sketchy questions. Next! James Spader is a little too intense with his over-confidence and eye contact that is never broken, poor Jim is feeling the pressure from this hard core salesman. “There is no such thing as a product…there is only sex. Everything is sex. You understand that what I’m telling you is a universal truth.” Darryl’s up next, but he figured he’d be a shoe-in, so his preparation is a little lacking. He has no resume, and no coherent answers to interview questions, but Jim later lets him know that his known professional past is more important than his resume professional past.  However, he later shoots himself in the foot by playing the single dad card. Ray Romano is up next, but James Spader easily puts doubts in his head and he ends up blowing his own interview, poor guy. Andy is next up, but since Gabe is on the search committee, he tries his best to destroy Andy’s chances by allowing his personal, creepy vendetta dictate the questions. Dwight then tries to weasel his way in by bribing Jim for an interview, but Jim won’t let him, so the search committee has to continue with Ricky Gervais as David Brent via webcam. After one Brit gets the laptop closed on him, another Brit does her interview. Catherine Tate has many plans for the office that change at the drop of a hat. First, everyone will have the same job and will be known for their accomplishments, but if there’s a conflict, then everyone will be everyone’s boss, wait, she wants a Zen office with no desks and a little Thai woman who gives massages in the back room. Jo comes back into town only to find out from Kelly that Gabe is a wreck, so Kelly replaces him on the committee, and she also reads out Darryl’s resume written without the help of the paperclip. While Jo joins the committee, Erin announces another interviewee who is a burn victim. Jo lets Dwight have an interview, but Jim refuses to ask any more questions than “what is your name,” so Dwight gives himself an interview. It’s magical, especially because both Kelly and Toby took the bribe from Dwight, so Jim takes it to the office, who think it’s time for an open vote. The office is a mess, Jim seems to be the only sane one, and next season is looking better and better. Amidst all of the interview glory, Phyllis may be Erin’s mother, Angela got engaged and Oscar tells everyone his suspicion of The Senator’s sexuality only to have everyone agree it’s best not to tell Angela, and Erin wants Andy so badly she turns into a puppet. The greatest side story of them all, though, has got to be Pam’s monitoring of Creed as manager. When he wants the biggest client on the phone, she pretends to be that biggest client, along with the other nine or so biggest clients. Even though Michael Scott has been gone for several episodes, there is no giant hole or missing piece. The writers have brilliantly weaved together an ensemble show offering fans the chance to see more into the lives of each office employee, even if that means seeing way too much into Phyllis’s life. Next season should be as exciting and brilliant as these last three episodes and, personally, I can’t wait.

P&R had another double helping on Thursday night as they celebrated their season finale. In the first episode, Leslie and Ben are enjoying the bubble of a new relationship and all of the “crazy amounts of…history channel documentaries.” Unfortunately, Leslie is forced to burst that bubble a little early when Ben has a meeting with her mother Marlene Griggs-Knope. While their bubble bursts, Chris bursts Ron’s when he implements new plans for the department. Normally, Ron would sit back and watch as the new City Manager digs himself in a hole, but when his desk is turned into a Swedish circular desk for easy accessibility, Ron has to do something. After everyone suffers in their new roles, Ron confronts Chris on why his plans won’t work. Tom can’t be put in a room on the fourth floor to digitize archives by himself because he needs people to impress in order to do his job. April can’t be the executive assistant for the entire office because she hates everyone. Jerry can’t be the head of public relations for the Parks department because he can only function when no one is watching him. However, Chris can’t undo his plans otherwise he’ll lose face, so Ron offers him something he’s never offered anyone before: compromise. Everyone goes back to normal, and he’ll sit in the Swedish desk for a week. While the office adjusts to Chris, Leslie does her best to help Ben undo his pushover status with her mother by training him on how to deal with Marlene Griggs-Knope. Unfortunately, her training is a little too exact and her mother hits on her boyfriend, which is the worst way for the bubble to burst, so Ben takes charge and tells her mother the truth. Now Ann and Marlene know about their secret relationship.

In the season finale, big finale changes are at hand for nearly everyone in the department; however, these changes begin with the death of the beloved Li’l Sebastian. When Ron came into the building and saw the flag at half-mast, he thought it had been another useless city employee, but when he learns the truth of who died, Ron Swanson cries. During the planning of the horse’s funeral, Leslie’s in-office flirting with Ben backfires when she gives Jerry the memo meant for Ben, “cute butt,” and has to try and backtrack by calling him “cube butt.” Thankfully, everyone hates Jerry so it works. Not so thankfully, during their liaisons, Ben butt-dialled Ron and he knows about their relationship. That makes Ann, Marlene and Ron. Ron is the only one who pleas for them to stop because in the face of tragedy, he can’t lose another two people just like he lost Li’l Sebastian. Tom, meanwhile, helps Jean-Ralphio invest the money he “earned” from being hit by a Lexus in his new multi-media company Entertainment 7wenty. Together, he and Jean-Ralphio do the funeral with great success while Leslie and Ben are caught by yet another person who they send home early, but who also happens to be the guy with the propane for the eternal flame. While Andy plans a song that’s 5000 times better than “Candle in the Wind” titled “5000 Candles in the Wind,” Ron lights the eternal flame that is filled with Jerry’s lighter fluid instead and proceeds to burn his facial hair off. Since their relationship is the cause of Ron’s beloved facial hair burning off, they decide they need to keep strict professional boundaries. In the end, Chris, after dealing with the shock of learning he has tendonitis from age, is encouraged by Ann whom he still likes, and April Ludgate becomes Andy’s manager. Tom, also, has big changes as he leaves the P&R department for his company Entertainment 7wenty and Leslie is being sought for political office, which means any of her scandals need to be told to the search committee, but she says she has none. Although all of these things are big surprises with lots of plot potential for the next several seasons, one of the biggest surprises has got to be the presence of Tammy One. Who the hell is Tammy One? Who is this woman who has the ability to scare of the terrifying Tammy Two? Only time will tell. Looking forward to yet another season with the Parks & Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana.

Get ready for Cougar Town’s season two finale. To celebrate, let’s take a look at the history of the Penny Can.

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